1974 Yugoslav Constitution

The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution was the fourth and final constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It came into effect on 21 February 1974.

With 406 original articles, the 1974 constitution was one of the longest constitutions in the world. It added elaborate language protecting the self-management system from state interference and expanding representation of republics and provinces in all electoral and policy forums. The Constitution called the restructured Federal Assembly the highest expression of the self-management system. Accordingly, it prescribed a complex electoral procedure for that body, beginning with the local labor and political organizations. Those bodies were to elect commune-level assemblies, which then would elect assemblies at province and republic level; finally, the latter groups would elect the members of the two equal components of the Federal Assembly, the Federal Chamber and the Chamber of Republics and Provinces.[1]

Although the new constitution dealt with the codification of the socio-economic system towards the achievements of the theory of self-management socialism to a greater extent, the most controversial and historical consequences arose from the regulations of the Constitution about the state organization of Yugoslavia, which were later used as the legal basis for the breakup of Yugoslavia and differently interpreted by the warring parties during the armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

The new Constitution also reduced the State Presidency from twenty-three to nine members, with equal representation for each republic and province and an ex-officio position for the president of the League of Communists. The 1974 Constitution also expanded protection of individual rights and court procedures, with the all-purpose caveat that no citizen could use those freedoms to disrupt the prescribed social system. Finally, Kosovo and Vojvodina, the two constituent provinces of Serbia, received substantially increased autonomy, including de facto veto power in the Serbian parliament.[1]

The Yugoslav Federal Constitution of 1974 confirmed and strengthened the principles of the Yugoslav Federal Constitution Amendments of 1971, which introduced a concept that sovereign rights were exercised by the federal units, and that the federation had only the authority specifically transferred to it by the constitution.[2][3]

The constitution also proclaimed Josip Broz Tito president for life.

Constitution of SFR Yugoslavia 1974
The 1974 Constitution


Adoption of the Constitution was preceded by significant political events that occurred several years earlier, and that marked the beginning of the federalization of the country. First, in the summer of 1966, Aleksandar Ranković was removed from all functions, one of the closest associates of Josip Broz Tito, who was an opponent of federalization. The ideas made by Edvard Kardelj won, and thus began a gradual federalization. In 1968 and 1971 amendments were adopted to the Federal Constitution, through which Yugoslav Presidency as a collective leadership body was introduced (1971). Later that year, the republican leadership of SR Croatia was completely dismissed, which propagated their nationalistic politics. And in the autumn of next year (1972), a purge was carried out in the leadership of the SR Serbia. After all that, everything was ready for the adoption of the new Federal Constitution.

The Constitution

By the words of the Constitution, all power belongs to the "working class and working people". In terms of governmental structure, the provinces within the SR Serbia (SAP Vojvodina and SAP Kosovo) have received even greater rights than they had before. Provinces had their state and party Presidencies. Their territory could not be altered without the decision of the Provincial Assembly, provincial governments even got the right to veto decisions of the authorities in Serbia.

Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, was named President for Life of Yugoslavia, and his name was entered in the text of the Constitution. He was also the President of the Republic and President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia. After his death, all his functions would be transferred to the Presidency of Yugoslavia.

During the public discussion on the proposed changes to the Constitution, Professor of the Belgrade Law School, Dr. Mihailo Đurić was sentenced to prison after the publication of the speech in which he opposed the implementation of the planned constitutional changes. Pointing out that Yugoslavia was becoming just a geographical term, on whose soil under the disguise of consistent development of equality between nations, several independent, even conflicting national states were being established, prof. Đurić warned that the proposed constitutional changes not only fundamentally change the character of the former state union of the Yugoslav nations, but rejects the very idea of such a state community. Stressing that if something would be left from the state, it is only because in the next phase of changes we had something to bring to an end.[4]

Principles of the Constitution

The introductory part of the 1974 Constitution presents 10 basic principles:

  1. Government: Proceeding from the right of every nation to self-determination, including the right to secession,[5] Yugoslavia is defined as a federal republic of equal nations and nationalities, freely united on the principle of brotherhood and unity in achieving specific and common interest.[6] Holders of the sovereignty of nations and nationalities are the republics and provinces within its constitutional jurisdiction. Decision-making in the federation is based on communication and mutual rights and obligations of the republics and provinces. Socio-economic relations are established as a socialist self-management system.
  2. Socio-economic Planning: The basis of socio-economic system is social ownership on the means of production, the right of a working man to self-management and enjoying the fruits of labor, solidarity and reciprocity of rights and obligations of all social actors. Contrary to the Constitution are considered all forms of privatization of public assets, as well as "bureaucratic" or "technocratic" usurpation of resources or monopolization of decision-making.
  3. Economic system: Public property does not have a legal title holder, the holder of property rights are neither political institutions, nor economic entities, nor citizens. Working people decide about the distribution of income, socially limited by established criteria of distribution to consumption and reproduction. Social ownership and working people are organized in basic organizations of associated labor. The economy is characterized by cash, credit and market system, the connection, self-governing communication, social compacts, work planning and development among the organizations of associated labor, self-management and socio-political organizations and communities are taken as a basis for regulatory mechanisms. Social activities like education, science, culture and health care are organized into self-governing communities that represent the connection between the organization of associated labor and public interest. The work of the self-employed in private ownership and operation of farmers shall be governed by the same principles as in organizations of associated labor. The coordinated development of the economy through financing the development of underdeveloped republics and provinces is determined as the general interest at the level of Yugoslavia.
  4. Socialist self-governing democracy: It is defined as a specific form of the dictatorship of the proletariat which is ensured through a ban on the socio-economic and political organizations aimed at the establishment of capitalist relations. The power of working people is achieved through self-management and decision-making in the basic organizations of associated labor, self-interest communities and local communities and the delegation of representatives to the higher levels of the management bodies of self-governing organizations and the assemblies of socio-political organizations. Principles of work of all public authorities and self-management, personal responsibility, social control and replaceability office holders, the protection of constitutionality and legality are proclaimed, but the dominant role in the implementation of these principles in the framework of the Constitution is reserved for certain political organizations. Social self-protection is defined as the activity of all social actors to protect the self-governing constitutional order. The freedom of socio-political organization of working people is identified, but with the obligation to respect the framework of government socialist system dominated by the Constitution of the superior political organization.
  5. Rights and freedom of men and citizens: are limited by the interests of socialist society. The freedom of scientific, cultural and artistic creativity is proclaimed, education is based on the principles of scientific socialism, social policy is based on overcoming the differences resulting from unequal conditions of life and work, veterans' benefits and social security are provided, protection and improvement of environment is introduced.
  6. People's Defense is a collateral policy of peace, opposing aggression and pressure, which is an integral part of strengthening the defense capability of the country. It includes the participation of all social and political institutions and autonomous organizations at all levels in defense of the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-management system. The unity of command of the armed forces is anticipated.
  7. International relations of Yugoslavia are based on the principles of peaceful coexistence and active cooperation of equal states and nations, adherence to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, meeting international commitments and active participation in international organizations. Yugoslavia is committed to non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, socialist internationalism, rejecting the use of force in international relations to achieve general disarmament, the right of people to self-determinate for the sake of the liberation struggle, independence and free choice of social and political organization for the protection of minority rights, equal economic relations in the world, respect of accepted norms of international law.
  8. The role of political and trade union organizations: the League of Communists of Yugoslavia under the Constitution has the responsibility of the political activities to protect and further develop self-governing socialist relations. Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia is the widest democratic front of working people and citizens and is under the leadership of the Communist Party in order to achieve political unity and action. In its framework it is possible to discuss social issues, launch political initiatives and harmonization of opinions to determine political attitudes. The Constitution delegated functions of the Socialist Alliance include personnel matters, determining candidates for delegates and persons performing functions in the self and socio-political organizations, exercising social control over the work of the authorities and the management bodies of autonomous organizations and office holders, exercising influence over the system of public information. Voluntary union organizing is integrated into the socialist self-management relations. The union is authorized to delegate representatives to the management and organization of joint work and to socio-political organizations, to initiate and participate directly in the self-communication and social agreements.
  9. The goal of socio-economic and political system established by the Constitution of the Yugoslav Republic is the development of the material basis of social relations and towards achieving the principle of communism: "From each according to ability - to each according to his needs." All social actors are invited to "contribute to the realization of human rights and freedoms, humanizing social environment and the human personality, the strengthening of solidarity and humanity among people and respect for human dignity" and to build relationships between people in the direction of creating conditions for the elimination of coercion and to the awareness of common interests.
  10. The basis of the interpretation of the Constitution and laws of the principles of socialist self-management expressed in the introduction to the Constitution of the Yugoslav Republic.

Right to self-determination

Previous constitutions had granted the republics the constitutional right to self-determination, including a right to secede. In the 1974 Constitution, these rights belonged to the "nations of Yugoslavia." At the same time, the constitution included a number of provisions that could deny the right to secede. Article 5 required the consent of all republics and provinces before the borders of Yugoslavia could be altered. Article 283 gave the Yugoslav Assembly the power to determine alterations in the state's boundaries. It was not clearly defined whether unilateral secession was possible or whether this could only be done if the federal government and all of the republics and provinces agreed to it.[7][8]

The end of the Constitution

Out of all constituencies, the SR Serbia had the most comments on the state organization under the 1974 Constitution, which was natural given its territorial structure. Initially, it requested the federal government to convince the province to properly interpret the Constitution, according to which Serbia was still a sovereign republic with an appropriate degree of autonomy for its provinces. However, after Kardelj's (1979) and Tito's death (1980) it was more and more difficult to arbitrate in disputes between the republics and provinces. In the mid-1980s, the Serbian leadership was requesting amendments to the Constitution, no longer only correct interpretation. In early 1987, thanks to the efforts of the Serbian leadership, the Presidency of Yugoslavia initiated the adoption of more than 130 amendments. However, some time later, there was a conflict within the Serbian leadership. At the eight session of the Central Committee of Serbia in September 1987, the ideas of Slobodan Milošević won, who energetically and strongly demanded the repeal of the Constitution of 1974. At the end of 1988 there was a shift of complete leadership in both provinces, and in the spring of 1989 amendments to the Constitution of Serbia were adopted, which significantly narrowed the powers and rights of the provinces. The final repeal of the constitutional provisions of 1974 in Serbia took place in September 1990, when it adopted a brand new constitution.

In the meantime, the other Yugoslav republics had started removing the 1974 constitution. Slovenia first removed the prefix "socialist" from the name of the republic in March 1990, and at the same time adopted a series of amendments that removed the socialist arrangement. In Croatia, after the victory of the HDZ (Franjo Tuđman), adopted amendments in 1990 which also removed the prefix "socialist" and changed the republic symbols as well. In December 1990 Croatia adopted a brand new constitution. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia followed in the autumn of 1990, when the anti-communist forces removed the socialist system as well, and in Montenegro the removal was formally marked by the adoption of the new republic constitution in the autumn of 1992.


  1. ^ a b  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Glenn E. Curtis (December 1990). Glenn E. Curtis (ed.). Yugoslavia: A country study. Federal Research Division. Political Innovation and the 1974 Constitution.
  2. ^ Čobanov, Saša; Rudolf, Davorin (2009). "Jugoslavija: unitarna država ili federacija povijesne težnje srpskoga i hrvatskog naroda – jedan od uzroka raspada Jugoslavije" [Yugoslavia: a unitary state or federation of historic efforts of Serbian and Croatian nations—one of the causes of breakup of Yugoslavia]. Zbornik radova Pravnog fakulteta u Splitu (in Croatian). University of Split, Faculty of Law. 46 (2). ISSN 1847-0459. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  3. ^ Roland Rich (1993). "Recognition of States: The Collapse of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union". European Journal of International Law. 4 (1): 36–65.
  4. ^ Đurić, Mihailo (1971). "Смишљене смутње". Анали правног факултета у Београду 3. Belgrade: Law school Belgrade. pp. 230–233.
  5. ^ Pavičić, dr. jur. Marko (1974). The Constitution of The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (PDF). Ljubljana: Dopisna delavska univerza Ljubljana, Parmova 39. p. 53. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Ustav Socijalističke Federativne : Republike Jugoslavije (1974)" (PDF). Mojustav.rs. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  8. ^ Richard F. Iglar (12 January 1992). "The Constitutional Crisis in Yugoslavia and the International Law of Self-Determination: Slovenia's and Croatia's Right to Secede". Boston College International and Comparative Law Review. 15. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
1963 Yugoslav Constitution

The 1963 Yugoslav Constitution was the third constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It came into effect on April 7, 1963. The constitution was the result of beliefs of the governing structures that Yugoslav self-management relations have been sufficiently overcome in the society that it deserved a new and final constitutional definition and enthroning.

The parliamentary Federal Assembly (Skupština) was divided into one general chamber, the Federal Chamber, and four chambers given specific bureaucratic responsibilities. The constitution directed that individual republics be represented only in the Chamber of Nationalities, a part of the Federal Chamber.President Josip Broz Tito retained his position as president of the federation but renounced his state position as president of the Federal Executive Council, a change that further separated party and state functions. The 1963 constitution also introduced the concept of rotation, which prohibited remaining at higher or lower level executive positions for more than two four-year mandates. Moreover, it extended human and civil rights and established constitutionally guaranteed court procedures.

1991 Croatian independence referendum

Croatia held an independence referendum on 19 May 1991, following the Croatian parliamentary elections of 1990 and the rise of ethnic tensions that led to the breakup of Yugoslavia. With 83 percent turnout, voters approved the referendum, with 93 percent in favor of independence. Subsequently, Croatia declared independence and the dissolution of its association with Yugoslavia on 25 June 1991, but it introduced a three-month moratorium on the decision when urged to do so by the European Community and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe through the Brioni Agreement. The war in Croatia escalated during the moratorium, and on 8 October 1991, the Croatian Parliament severed all remaining ties with Yugoslavia. In 1992, the countries of the European Economic Community granted Croatia diplomatic recognition and Croatia was admitted to the United Nations.

Abortion in Croatia

Abortion in Croatia has been a regulated medical operation since 1952, subject to various restrictions. According to present law, abortion can be performed as an elective procedure until 10 weeks following conception, and in specific circumstances afterwards.

Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Literary Language

The Declaration on the Name and Status of the Croatian Literary Language (Croatian: Deklaracija o nazivu i položaju hrvatskog književnog jezika) is the statement adopted by Croatian scholars in 1967 arguing for the equal treatment of the Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, and Macedonian language standards in Yugoslavia. Its demands were granted by the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution.

Edvard Kardelj

Edvard Kardelj (pronounced [ˈéːdʋaɾt kaɾˈdéːl]; 27 January 1910 – 10 February 1979), also known under the pseudonyms Bevc, Sperans and Krištof, was a Yugoslav politician and journalist from Ljubljana, Slovenia. He was one of the leading members of the Communist Party of Slovenia before World War II. During the war Kardelj was one of the leaders of the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People and a Slovene Partisan, and after the war a federal political leader in socialist Yugoslavia who led the Yugoslav delegation that negotiated peace talks with Italy over the border dispute in the Julian March. He is considered the main creator of the Yugoslav system of workers' self-management. He was an economist and a full member of both the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts and Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Ethnic groups in Yugoslavia

The ethnic groups in Yugoslavia were grouped into constitutive peoples and minorities.

Federal Council for Protection of the Constitutional Order (Yugoslavia)

Federal Council for Protection of the Constitutional Order (Serbo-Croatian: Savezni sav(j)et za zaštitu ustavnog poretka, Slovene: Zvezni svet za zaščito ustavne ureditve, Macedonian: Сојузниот совет за заштита на уставниот поредок) was an agency of the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in charge of coordination of country's internal security institutions. It was created in 1975, in accordance with Article 331 of the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution, and ceased to exist when the country fell apart in 1991-1992.

The council had eight members. Four members were appointed directly by the Presidency: three out of its own members and one out of the leadership of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. The other members were Yugoslav prime minister, ministers of interior, national defense and foreign affairs. The chairmen of the council since its creation were:

Vladimir Bakarić (1975-1982)

Lazar Koliševski (1982-1984)

Stane Dolanc (1984-1989)

Janez Drnovšek (1989)

Borisav Jović (1989-1991)

Independence of Croatia

The Independence of Croatia was a process started with the changes in the political system and the constitutional changes in 1990 that transformed the Socialist Republic of Croatia into the Republic of Croatia, which in turn proclaimed the Christmas Constitution, and held the 1991 Croatian independence referendum.

After the country formally declared independence in June 1991 and the dissolution of its association with Yugoslavia, it introduced a three-month moratorium on the decision when urged to do so by the European Community and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. During that time the Croatian War of Independence started.

On 8 October 1991, the Croatian Parliament severed all remaining ties with Yugoslavia. The Badinter Arbitration Committee had to rule on the matter. Finally, Croatian independence was internationally recognized in January 1992, when both the European Economic Community and the United Nations granted Croatia diplomatic recognition, and the country was accepted into the United Nations shortly thereafter.

Islam in Croatia

Islam is the second-largest faith in Croatia after Christianity. The religion is followed by 1.47% of the country's population according to the 2011 census, compared to 91.06% Christians and 4.57% not religious, atheists, agnostics and sceptics.Islam was first introduced to Croatia by the Ottoman Empire during the Croatian–Ottoman Wars that lasted from 15th to 16th century. During this period some parts of the Croatian Kingdom were occupied which resulted in numerous Croats converting to Islam, some after being taken prisoners of war, some through the devşirme system. Nonetheless, Croats strongly fought against the Turks during these few centuries which resulted in the fact that the westernmost border of the Ottoman Empire in Europe became entrenched on the Croatian soil. In 1519, Croatia was called the Antemurale Christianitatis by Pope Leo X.

The Islamic Community of Croatia (Mešihat Islamske Zajednice u Hrvatskoj) is the main organization of Muslims in Croatia that is officially recognized by the state. The President of the Islamic Community is Aziz Effendi Hasanović.As of 2011, 62,977 Muslims live in Croatia. Most of them declare themselves as Bosniaks (45,225) while others declare themselves as: Albanians (9,594), Roma (5,039), Turks (343), Macedonians (217), Montenegrins (159) and other (2,420).The first mosque in Croatia was built in Gunja in 1969. Today there are 4 mosques and 2 Islamic centers in Croatia (in Zagreb and Rijeka).

List of members of the Presidency of Yugoslavia

This article lists the members of the Presidency of Yugoslavia, the collective head of state of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1971 until the country's dissolution in 1991/92.

Formed by the 1971 amendments to the 1963 Yugoslav Constitution, the Presidency of Yugoslavia originally had 23 members – three from each republic, two from each autonomous province and President of the Republic Josip Broz Tito. The 1974 Yugoslav Constitution reorganized the Presidency, reducing it to 9 members – one from each republic and autonomous province and, until 1988, President of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia ex officio. The 1974 Constitution provided for the office of President of the Presidency, but only coming into effect with the disestablishment of the office of President of the Republic. A separate article affirmed Josip Broz Tito with an unlimited mandate which ensured the new President of the Presidency would not come into effect until after his death, which occurred on 4 May 1980.

Militia (Yugoslavia)

The Militia of SFR Yugoslavia (Serbo-Croatian: Милиција СФР Југославије, Milicija SFR Jugoslavije) was a law enforcement agency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1992. The Militia was subordinated to the Federal Secretariat of Internal Affairs (Serbo-Croatian: Савезни секретаријат унутрашњих послова, Savezni Sekretarijat unutrašnjih poslova).

Formed during World War II in Yugoslavia on territories controlled by the Yugoslav Partisans, at different times it was named Partisan Guard, Peasant Guard, People's Defence etc. In 1944 it was named People's Militia, and in 1966 Militia.

Milošević-Rugova education agreement

The Milošević–Rugova education agreement was an agreement signed on 1 September 1996 between Slobodan Milošević, president of the Republic of Serbia, and Ibrahim Rugova, the first President of Kosovo, still an unrecognised state declared independent in secret by members of Kosovo's former assembly when Kosovo was within Yugoslavia. The negotiations were mediated by the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Parliament of Yugoslavia

The Parliament of Yugoslavia was the deliberative body of Yugoslavia. Before World War II in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia it was known as the National Assembly (Narodna skupština), while in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the name was changed to Federal Assembly (Serbo-Croatian: Savezna skupština/Савезна скупштина). It was the official deliberative body of the Yugoslav state, which existed from 1918 to 1992 and resided in the building which now convenes the National Assembly of Serbia.

Politics of Vojvodina

The politics of Vojvodina function within the framework of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. The province has a legislative assembly composed of 120 proportionally elected members, and a government composed of a president and cabinet ministers. The current political status of Vojvodina is regulated by the Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina from 2008.


Shqiptar (plural: Shqiptarët, Gheg Albanian: Shqyptar) is an Albanian language ethnonym (endonym), by which Albanians call themselves. They call their country Shqipëria (Gheg Albanian: Shqipnia).

Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina

The Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Serbian: Социјалистичка Аутономна Покрајина Војводина, romanized: Socijalistička Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina; often abbreviated SAP Vojvodina) was one of two political entities formed in Yugoslavia after World War II and one of the two autonomous provinces of Serbia within the Yugoslavia (the other being the Kosovo), between 1945 and the breakup of Yugoslavia. Until 1963 the province was named Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Аутономна Покрајина Војводина / Autonomna Pokrajina Vojvodina), and had a lower level of autonomy.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244

United Nations Security Council resolution 1244, adopted on 10 June 1999, after recalling resolutions 1160 (1998), 1199 (1998), 1203 (1998) and 1239 (1999), authorised an international civil and military presence in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and established the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). It followed an agreement by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević to terms proposed by President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari and former Prime Minister of Russia Viktor Chernomyrdin on 8 June, involving withdrawal of all Yugoslav state forces from Kosovo (Annex 2 of the Resolution).

Resolution 1244 was adopted by 14 votes to none against. China abstained despite being critical of the NATO offensive, particularly the bombing of its embassy. It argued that the conflict should be settled by the FRY Government and its people, and was opposed to external intervention. However, as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia accepted the peace proposal, China did not veto the resolution.Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Serbia and many other UN members have underscored that Resolution 1244 remains legally binding to all parties.

Yugoslavia and the United Nations

Yugoslavia was a charter member of the United Nations from its establishment in 1945 as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until 1992 during the Yugoslav Wars. It rejoined the UN under the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 2000 as a new member. Its seat was transferred to Serbia in 2006.

Yugoslavia articles


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